The Spring Horse Shows continue this week at Old Salem Farm in North Salem with more than 750 horses and riders competing in a new arena.
The Old Salem Farm International Arena features state-of-the-art technology and Footing First all-weather footing. The arena and the newly cultivated landscaping throughout the farm were designed to maintain the undulating verdure for which Old Salem Farm has always been known.
“This year is very exciting,” said two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward, who is also the Spring Horse Shows co-chair. “Our first priority has been the International Arena and the improvements that were made around the grounds, making sure they’re at the best standards for the horses and riders to compete on. I think across the board, people are appreciating the organization and the mindset of trying to produce great sport and a great event. It’s also a vision to the future of what we can build from here.”
“I designed here for many years when this was a grass ring,” said course designer Alan Wade of Ireland. “Now that we have the new all-weather footing, there are some different angles and a different shape to the ring, which makes it more interesting. I tried to keep everything smooth and flowing this week to give the riders, horses and myself as the course designer a feel for the ring. Even after changing to Footing First, it’s still a spectacular setting and an impressive, beautiful arena.”
The competition, which takes place Tuesday through Sunday, May 17 through 22, embraces riders of all levels and ages, from young children on their ponies to Olympic veterans aboard their Grand Prix mounts. The action starts around 8 a.m., with classes running simultaneously in three rings.
Even if you don’t know a paddock from a pasture – and we knew nothing before we started covering this delightful venue – you’ll enjoy the fun family fare at the farm. There’s shopping along Boutique Row and plenty of food vendors, while VIP table seating offers a panoramic vantage of the new International Arena and gourmet farm-to-table fare.
Family activities include pony rides, weekend face painting and an ice cream party hosted Saturday, May 21, by the Wolf Conservation Center, based in neighboring South Salem. There will also be on-site dog adoptions May 21 hosted by A New Chance Animal Rescue. Admission is free for everyone Tuesday through Friday, May 17 through 20, and $10 Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22.